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Racing Heiress Petra Ecclestone Relists Los Angeles Mega-Mansion for $175 Million

By admin
At Jun 07, 2018

British heiress and socialite Petra Ecclestone is relisting her sprawling Los Angeles mansion for $175 million, a $25 million discount from its original asking price. ​

Ms. Ecclestone had been taking a “wait and see” approach to selling the French chateau-style home when she first listed it for $200 million in 2016, according to the listing agents, Rick Hilton and David Kramer of Hilton & Hyland. Now, she is truly motivated to sell, Mr. Kramer said.

No single home in Los Angeles has ever sold for this much. The record price was $110 million, set just in April by the sale of Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton’s home in nearby Malibu, Calif. Mr. Kramer said his client had received offers on the property when it originally listed, but none were satisfactory. One of the offers came from entertainers Beyoncé and Jay-Z, according to two people familiar with the situation. Spokespeople for the couple didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The property, known as the Spelling Manor, was built by late television producer Aaron Spelling around 1990. Ms. Ecclestone bought it from Mr. Spelling’s widow, Candy Spelling, in 2011 for $85 million and employed more than 500 workers to completely renovate it.

The Holmby Hills estate totals roughly 56,000 square feet, making it one of the biggest private homes in Los Angeles. It sits on 5 acres with seven bedrooms, seven staff bedrooms, a 30-foot-high entryway with a double staircase, a two-lane bowling alley, a wine cellar, a gym and a beauty salon with a massage area and tanning rooms. The grounds include a swimming pool, a tennis court, a motor court with space to park 100 cars and formal gardens. Ms. Ecclestone has renovated some of the interiors since she last listed the property, including the master suite, Mr. Kramer said.

The street, Mapleton Drive, is also home to the mansions owned by music mogul Sean Combs and Sean Parker, a founder of Napster and the former president of Facebook , according to public records and people familiar with the street.

The daughter of Formula One billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, Ms. Ecclestone, 29, recently divorced from her husband James Stunt and has three children.

Spelling Manor is the latest Los Angeles mega-property to relist at a lower price in recent months. Developer Bruce Makowsky recently dropped the price of his Bel-Air spec mansion to $188 million from $250 million, for instance. And Le Belvedere, a Bel-Air mansion built by Mohamed Hadid, recently sold for $56 million; It was first listed for $85 million in 2016.

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Ranking units in L.A.’s new condo kingdoms – The Real Deal

By admin
At Jan 22, 2018

The Santa Ana winds are shifting in the Los Angeles luxury condo market, and so are buyers’ priorities and preferences.

The original go-to location in L.A. for a high-end condo experience had long been Millionaire Mile, a gilded stretch of the Wilshire Corridor abutted by the “golden triangle” of Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills. But it looks like many of those who can pay top dollar are now putting down luxury roots in nearby Century City instead.

Nearly half of this year’s 10 priciest condo sales in L.A. County had addresses in the Westside’s hottest up-and-coming neighborhood, according to The Real Deal’s analysis of closed sales recorded from Dec. 1, 2016 to Nov. 31, 2017, on Redfin and the Multiple Listing Service Los Angeles and in county records and news reports.

What was once just the Fox Studios backlot is now not only the gateway to Beverly Hills but also a high-end shopping and dining destination itself. The Westfield Century City mall recently underwent a $1 billion renovation meant to entice shoppers with Mario Batali’s Eataly, an Amazon bookstore and even a cryotherapy clinic. And the neighborhood’s overall increased walkability — along with its hotly anticipated access to mass transit — makes it the most-desired destination in town, brokers said.

“All eyes are on Century City now,” said Jon Bronson, who with fellow Coldwell Banker agent Mary Swanson sold a $9.9 million townhouse in the Century — the seventh-priciest deal in TRD’s ranking.

Susan Smith, an agent with Hilton & Hyland who has sold several units in the exclusive Enclave at Century Woods development, has seen an increase in demand for pedestrian accessibility even from her highest-profile clients.

“Hey, Jane Fonda drives a Prius,” Smith said, not ruling out that the actress and new Enclave resident might also take the Metro. The Century City/Constellation Purple Line station begins construction this year and will connect Century City to Downtown L.A. upon its completion.

In just the last two years, Smith has seen a big transition in the area. Clients who once reflexively looked to the Wilshire Corridor for prime condo properties are shunning the neighborhood due to its lack of transit accessibility and street-level engagement.

“There’s nowhere to walk,” Smith said. “I’m seeing it across the board. Even people from Beverly Park are looking for this ease of access.”

(Click to enlarge)

David Kramer, an agent with Hilton & Hyland who handled the sale of a $6.7 million condo in the Century in 2017, further confirmed that “L.A. is now in transition,” with luxury condo buyers moving away from the Wilshire Corridor and over to Century City. He’s also noticed more interest from out-of-town buyers who come to L.A. often for business or pleasure. They may pop in and out but don’t have an intimate understanding of the city, which makes a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood particularly appealing, he said.

“If you don’t know the area well, Century City is very easy to navigate,” Bronson added.

And there seems to be one place in particular the most high-flying buyers turn to for a Century City condo. Four of the priciest sales in the area were for units in the Century, developed by Related Group.

Nestled close to the new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and the Peninsula Hotel, the 42-floor tower designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects houses 140 units on 4 acres. The amenities — including a screening theater, private Equinox fitness center, private wine storage and comprehensive security — are drawing interest from all over the map.

Bachir Oueida of Douglas Elliman handled the priciest condo sale of the year: a $20 million penthouse in the Century, which sold in June. Months later, he handled the sale of a whole-floor condo unit with 360-degree views for $6.15 million. He has had a total of 39 closings in the Century since it opened in 2010, he said.

“People are downsizing from megamansions. They’re coming from Bel Air, Beverly Hills, the Bird Streets, coming from $15 or $16 million properties. They want low-maintenance, vertical-estate living,” said Oueida.

He sees interested buyers coming from the East and West coasts, in addition to international buyers looking for a no-fuss pied-à-terre. Oueida added that he has buyers renting out Century City condos for $20,000 per month.

The Montage Beverly Hills had two of the priciest condo sales of the year.

The pace of dealmaking in the area has noticeably picked up as of late, Kramer noted. He listed the $6.7 million Century unit, which had been fully gutted and given a facelift, and fielded several calls in short order. The buyer came in with an all-cash offer with no contingencies and moved in within a week. That’s just how hot things are in L.A., he said.

That supports the trends noted in Douglas Elliman’s Greater Los Angeles luxury condo market report for the third quarter of 2017. Median prices largely inched upward, while marketing time was short and discounts remained nominal. In the Century City and Westwood areas, which are grouped together in the report, the median sale price was up 13.6 percent from the year-earlier quarter, to $883,000. The average number of days on the market was down to 53 days, from 59 days in Q3 2016.

Signs point to escalating demand for the neighborhood. There were 130 luxury condo sales closed in the area in the third quarter of 2017 — an increase of 24 percent from the previous year, according to the Elliman report.

Despite the promising pace, insiders are wary of making predictions about how long the boom will last. Though they’ve been watching and waiting for the bubble to burst, Kramer said that the figures indicate that’s not happening yet. “You’d be crazy to try to predict now where we are in the seven-year cycle. We just had a very strong November and December,” he said.

While he is cautiously optimistic, Kramer is wary of a number of uncontrollable factors that could impact the market both negatively and positively. He pointed to questions of safety around the world that could affect whether  international clients choose to relocate.

But on the flip side, there’s also been an influx of new industries into L.A. that could bring a whole new demographic of clients into the market, he noted, pointing to the recent tech boom that has minted a whole new class of wealth seeking the kind of ultraluxury experience these high-end condos offer.

“I saw the 2006 bubble coming a mile away, but now it’s so much harder to predict,” the broker said.

Still, there are some tea leaves to read.

“The only thing I can say: There’s not a huge uptick in inventory in certain neighborhoods,” said Hilton & Hyland’s  Smith.

She pointed to Beverly Hills as one example. “I can’t see a huge correction there. A lot of people are moving around from the same area. But there’s such a restriction on inventory that I’m getting several offers on things that are well-priced,” Smith said.

The median condo price in Beverly Hills was $1,272,500 in the third quarter, an increase of 7.4 percent from the year-earlier quarter, Elliman reported.

While unique homes at the very top of the market are commanding sky-high sums, the price growth isn’t happening at the same rate it once was, Smith said. “The numbers aren’t going up like they were. But they are up 40 percent from 2007 in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Malibu,” Smith said.

Oueida anticipates more interest in the area on the horizon, a good thing given the amount of new ultraluxury product slated to come online nearby.

Century Plaza has two 46-story condo towers slated to open this year atop the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel. Developer Beny Alagem is planning two 12-story condo towers atop the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, at the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. (This after voters rejected a ballot initiative to alter the proposal to one 26-story condo tower on the property in 2016.)

More buyers are realizing that they can get many of the features of a single-family home in a luxury condo, brokers said.

Coldwell’s Bronson, for example, chalked up his near-$10 million condo sale specifically to the quality of the product he was selling, which was one of only two townhome units on the Century’s ground floor. Being on the first floor gives residents the feel of estate living with all the advantages of condo life, he said.

Bronson sold the unit for his client, owner Marc Schorr, former COO of the Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. The broker said he knew he’d be able to close the deal at asking price because of the work put into the unit. Schorr had engaged the same designer responsible for the suites at the Wynn in Las Vegas to redo the entire townhouse with the same luxurious finishes.

Bronson closed the deal just under eight weeks after the listing date. “We knew that if we priced it correctly, it would sell. My client didn’t want to price it above market,” Bronson said. It only took a small number of showings before it was clear that they had a deal, he added.

Stunning views are another important factor in selling high-rise condos to buyers used to L.A.’s single-family luxury homes. Elliman broker Oueida’s sale of a 9,700-square-foot unit occupying the entire 26th floor with a 360-degree view is a case-in-point.

“If you’re living in the hills or the Bird Streets, you want views. Those houses generally have a 180-degree view with a hillside behind it,” he said. “This offers a jetliner view.”

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Home to Many of Hollywood’s Elite

By admin
At Jul 25, 2017

In the 1930’s, the Great Depression had hit the country hard. Even the most affluent families lost money as banks failed across the nation. In Los Angeles, Holmby Hills, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, the construction of extravagant estates continued and was perhaps the biggest anomaly in the country at the time. Land on prestigious Sunset Boulevard and Carolwood Drive was still being purchased by those looking to find a prominent place among the Hollywood elite, and no price was too high.

Making the headlines in 1932 was Charles and Florence Quinn. Florence was the wife of the late Arthur Letts Sr., founder of the Broadway department stores. Florence and Letts had already purchased a magnificent thirty-acre estate in Hollywood, but after his death and her subsequent re-marriage, Florence decided to sell and move to Sunset Boulevard with her new husband. Florence chose a parcel of land situated between the homes of her three children, who by this time were married and established on their own. The Quinn’s astounded their neighbors and all of Los Angles when it was leaked that their construction budget for their new home was estimated at $150,000. While this amount is not much in today’s standards, during the Depression, it was a phenomenal price.

The couple hired Robert Farquhar to design their 12,600-square-foot Italian Renaissance style home. Farquhar designed the home to include eight bedrooms and seven full bathrooms, along with a dining room, living area and a grand entryway. The home was fashioned with only the finest marble and rarest woods to give the Quinn’s an extraordinary finished product. Florence loved antiques and art and filled her home with both. During her time at what would later be named “Owlwood,” she decorated the rooms in her home with a variety of timeless pieces including an entire 18th century drawing room that she purchased from the famous Castle Hill in Devonshire, England. She also included rare pieces from the Ming Dynasty as well as English and French silver and fine china.

After Florence’s death, many prominent men and women were interested in the property. It was well known that the Quinn’s home was the largest in the area at that time and it was the definition of classic beauty and grandeur. In 1944, the home was sold to Joseph Drown, the founder of The Hotel Bel-Air, and then shortly after was sold once again to 20th Century Fox Co-Founder, Joe Schenck. It was during his time at Owlwood that Schenck discovered one of the greatest actresses known in Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe. Monroe lived at the Owlwood estate in the pool house until she hit it big and was able to move out on her own. After Schenck, the home went through several more prestigious owners, including Superior Oil Founder William Keck, actor Tony Curtis and the beloved duo, Sonny and Cher. In 1976, Cher sold the property to Ralph and Chase Mishkin, where it finally got its name “Owlwood.” The home has stayed much the same, gaining additional acres over the years and was recently the second highest selling estate in Los Angles.

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Real estate agents lay out strategies on how to bring home residential deals.

By admin
At May 11, 2017

Going To War’

By Helen Zhao

Friday, April 21, 2017

The competition is heating up for homes priced for less than $3 million in Los Angeles County. The number of properties sold at that price point rose by 1.4 percent last year, while the average number of monthly active listings declined by 12.2 percent, according to the California Association of Realtors.

As a result, agents said they typically expect anywhere between four and eight offers for a desirable property, something agent David Kramer of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills refers to as “going to war.”

Winning a high-pressure bid battle can often come down to nuance. Agents on both the buy and sell sides of the deal shared their winning strategies for coming out ahead in the ultracompetitive L.A. home market.


1. Confidence.

A buyer has to be prepared to make the strongest possible offer. That means being certain it’s the right house for them. Kramer makes sure his clients view a home more than once. “What I find is hesitation often comes from not remembering the house. You see it once, get excited, and write the offer,” he said. Confidence also comes from being informed about comparable sales in the area and what it takes to sweeten a deal in a bidding war, like shortening or waiving contingencies.

2. First impression.

“When your client walks into the open house, this is an interview,” said Michael Nourmand, president of L.A.’s Nourmand & Associates. “The agent is watching your client – what they say, how they appear, if they seem easygoing. Do they really like the house?” In a hot market, Nourmand tells his clients to “be very complimentary about the house because you want to sell to the listing agent that you really want the house and that your buyer is going to close.”

3. Escalation clause.

Some might view it as an unfair tactic, but adding an escalation clause helped one Nourmand buyer win a bidding war for a home that sold for just less than $1 million in Studio City with six offers, he said. “What it means is that I will pay (for example) $5,000 more than the highest written verifiable offer, purchase price not to exceed $1.5 million.” Nourmand suggests calling the listing agent to see if he or she is OK with the escalation clause first.

4. Level the playing field.

Kramer suggests asking the listing agent if any of their own clients are submitting bids. If so, “they’re going to pick that person.” If that’s the case, then ask to bring the selling broker’s manager in. But don’t stop there, he said. “Another thing I ask – Is there anything special that is nonfinancial that will make this seller happy?” Learning about a seller’s specific needs and addressing them means that even if you don’t have the highest offer, the seller might tell you what the highest offer is and give you a chance to match it.


5. Emotional connection.

Agent Dennis Hsii of Playa Vista Premiere saw just how effective this tactic can be when his buyer won a bidding war with 13 others on a $1.1 million Santa Monica home in November. Hsii’s buyer, who took out a loan, beat out five all-cash offers and others worth more money. Hsii said it all came down to an initial meeting with the listing agent, homeowners, and neighbors. Then he hand-delivered the offer in a gift-wrapped package, with a bow on top, that included a personal letter to the seller explaining why the buyer loved the home and how it would be perfect for the family.


1. Price right.

Price the home in a manner that invites multiple offers. That can drive the price of the home up. “Let’s say the magic number for your house is $2 million, and you price at $2.3 million. You’re going to get $1.95 million. If you price it at $1.95, you might get $2.5 million,” said Jeffrey Saad, an agent at Compass in Beverly Hills. “You can make an extra $100,000 just by pricing for multiples versus pricing too high and slowly reducing over a few months.”

2. Highest doesn’t mean best.

An offer that comes in a lot higher than the others could be cause for concern. Carrie Rollings Meynet of Gibson International in Brentwood said she learned that the hard way while selling a $1.5 million condo last year that received eight offers. Her client accepted the highest offer, which was well-above asking price. “Some agents will represent buyers who throw in an unbelievable price point just to secure their position in a multiple,” she said. Then they ask for large concessions. During her inspection, the buyer asked for extremely high credits – or monetary deductions – based on perceived flaws with the unit. The deal fell out of escrow because an agreement couldn’t be reached.

3. Have a backup.

In the case of the condo with multiple offers, Rollings Meynet had secured a backup offer in writing. “As an agent, it’s important to maintain communication with backups, making sure the backup position is still a viable offer,” she said. “If you don’t have a backup, you may have to show the house in open house again.”

4. Plan for a low appraisal.

Banks will typically lend 80 percent of a home’s appraised value, so if a property appraises for less than the purchase price, the buyer will have to come up with more cash. Anticipating a lower appraisal, Saad and his wife, Nadia, also an agent with Compass, chose a buyer with a down payment higher than 20 percent, for a $900,000 condo in Westwood. “The buyer stayed because they had a higher down payment. If we had gone with a lower down payment, the deal wouldn’t have closed,” he said.

5. Evaluate emotional commitment.

“When I see that a buyer is truly emotionally married to that property, they want to stick through the hard stuff during escrow,” said Rollings Meynet. “Like (if) your plumbing is shot in the house – this is overwhelming to the buyer. Is it so overwhelming that they’ll walk?”


Original Article 

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An Architectural Masterpiece on Carolwood Drive

By admin
At May 09, 2017

There were plenty of available architects in the early 1920s, each with their own style and theory about what grandeur and elegance looked like. This was especially true for George Washington Smith, a lover of the simple yet magnificent look of Spanish Colonial Revival style homes. He was a rarity among other Los Angeles architects who chose more ornate styles such as English Tudor, Italian or Mediterranean for their clients. Smith began his architectural career by building a home for his own family. Located in Santa Barbara, the Smith home brought in many clients from the surrounding areas. He hadn’t ventured far past his hometown until 1925, when he designed and built the Kerns home on Carolwood Drive. It would be his first and last house built in Los Angeles.

Carolwood Drive is located in prestigious Holmby Hills and was the perfect location for Henry and Elsa Mary Kern, a retired couple who loved the serenity of the area. They bought a 2.2-acre lot and hired Smith immediately to begin designing their home. Up until this point, Smith had remained steadfast in his Spanish Colonial Revival designs, but Kern had a different idea for his new home. His request was a toned-down version of an Italian Renaissance, not the type of house that was Smith’s specialty. Smith continued to work with Kern, making multiple changes to his design at the owner’s request.

Once a final design had been approved, Smith began working on what would be his greatest accomplishment. Adding the small ornate details that Kern wanted to the simplistic, elegance of Smith’s design created an unusual but equally beautiful home. In 1927, the Kerns moved into their spacious 5-bedroom home situated on a knoll, surrounded by pristine landscape and a crystal-clear view. An impressive two-story entryway, dining room, living room, kitchen and servant’s quarters made up the downstairs with the upstairs containing a master suite with a sitting room, dressing room and bedroom fit for royalty.

The crowning glory of the Kern estate was thanks to A.E. Hanson, a landscape artist known for his skill of working with hills and ravines that were a part of the terrain in Holmby Hills. Hanson contacted Kern to offer his expertise, not waiting for Smith or Kern to contact him. Hanson kept with the clean, simple design in the backyard which led to the deep ravine. There he built a show-stopping feature: a beautiful fountain that fed into a waterfall, cascading down the ravine into a pool at the bottom. The stairs that led down the ravine to the pool were lined with clamshells for a unique display for visitors.

The Kerns estate is still in pristine condition today. The current owners purchased the estate in the 1990s and decided to restore the home to its original state. They also bought the neighboring estate and added another three acres to their two-acre estate, making it one of the largest estates in Holmby Hills.








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